Most Long Island wineries focus on the red wine grapes of
Bordeaux—particularly merlot—and the white wine grape of
Burgundy—chardonnay. They are, by far, the two most planted varieties on the East End.
Jamesport Vineyards is a little different. They make merlot and chardonnay of course—the market demands them. But, they also have a well established pinot noir program and consider the white wine of Bordeaux, sauvignon blanc, a speciality as well.
Most local sauvignon is reared entirely in stainless steel
tanks, which highlights the fruit character and results in fresh,
lip-smacking wines that tend to be straight forward no matter how
delicious. Jamesport’s winemaker, Les Howard, however ferments only 62% of his sauvignon blanc
in stainless steel with 35% in 132-gallon puncheons and 3% in oak
barrels, which adds complexity and another layer of flavor.
The nose is a melange of tropical fruits—mango, papaya, kiwi and passionfruit—with a little grapefruit accented by subtle smoky oak and just a little herbaceousness. Ripe peach, passionfruit and mango flavors greet the palate with terrific acidity and a clean, lingering finish. It’s fresh and fruity without being like fruit salad, and offers a
little depth and interest without being over-oaked like many California
It’s easy to see why Jamesport focuses on this variety.
They do it extremely well.